How working abroad boosts your career
19 April 2018
While living abroad gives you the opportunity to explore new surroundings and interact with other cultures, working in a different country provides you with a unique set of skills and tangible employment benefits that are increasingly sought after by employers around the world.
A recent study by the British Council1 found that international work experience plays a key role in enhancing innovation and productivity in the workplace. At the same time, it helps build skills which benefit individuals, business and society.
As a globally mobile worker, you're likely to have dealt with challenges that took you out of your comfort zone. You may have found it difficult, or you may still find yourself struggling to fit in. These are all parts of the experience of working overseas. But, rest assured, the experience can be extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Take a look at the top benefits of international work experience that can have a positive, lasting impact on your career.
Top career benefits of international Work Experience
1. Flexibility and adaptability
Working in a foreign country gives you the chance to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations. This is a significant factor to grow your confidence and strengthen your ability to adjust to diverse situations.
2. Innovation skills
From figuring out how to navigate through a foreign city, to immersing yourself in a different culture – the challenges of settling abroad force you to use strong analytical and critical thinking skills, which helps develop your ability to solve problems and innovate
3. Communication skills
Not everyone working abroad manages to master a foreign language. But even just interacting with people from other countries is proof of your eagerness to take on new challenges and it builds up your communication skills. The British Council research found that 7 out of 10 individuals who worked abroad describe themselves as confident communicators who are able to work well with people from other cultures.
Work experience abroad can open your mind, help you to gain a better understanding of global markets and give you a taste of how organisations operate internationally. The business world is becoming more international than ever, and there is an increasing demand for workers that have experience with international markets and business cultures.
5. Cultural awareness
By interacting and working with people from other countries, you increase your cultural awareness, tolerance and cultural sensitivity.
The research by the British Council found that most employees who worked overseas believe their experience abroad enabled them to develop as a person. As you push yourself to adapt to a foreign working environment, your confidence can grow significantly, and you are likely to gain a greater drive to take on new challenges.
1. British Council. International Experience Increases Workplace Innovation. https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/press/international-experien.... Accessed 9 April 2018.